How To Grow Mullein- A Woolly Beauty That can Heal!

Learn How to grow wonderful Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) A statuesque biennial plant that can reach up to 2 metres in height! Its easy to grow, a real showstopper and one of natures healers! Here’s how I grow mine….

how to grow Mullein

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Mullein Origins

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is an ancient plant native to Europe, northern Africa, Asia, the Canary Islands, east to western China, Scandinavia, Siberia, and the Himalayas.

Seeds eventually found their way to the United States in the pockets of settlers in the early 18th century. Back then, Mullein was mostly cultivated for its medicinal and piscicide properties ( Piscicide is a chemical substance which is poisonous to fish. The use for piscicides is to aid in the elimination of a dominant species of fish in a body of water)

The first documented mention of Verbascum thapsus was by Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 book Species Plantarum.

Mullein Characteristics

Mullein Plants are tall and imposing with a woolly appearance. This biennial plant can grow up to 2m in height, forming a rosette of large green leaves upto 60cm long in its first year. The second year a long upright, woolly stem will bear a succession of yellow flowers during the summer months.

The many Names Of Mullein!

1. Jupiter’s Staff

Ancient Romans would call Mullein ‘Jupiter’s Staff’ which was symbolic of the prevailing religion of the time. Romans believed in a great many gods and goddesses, one of which was Jupiter. Jupiter was a ‘sky god’ who was believed to have originated from the Greek god Zeus. Jupiter was the capable protector of the Roman state.

2. Candleflower

Ancient Romans once dipped the dried flowering spikes of the Mullein plant in tallow (beef or mutton fat) or suet and set them alight in order to make torches.

3. Hag’s Taper

Mullein has long been associated with the mystical and magical arts. It has a long history of being favoured by herbalists, healers and even witches. It is said that Witches, then and now still use the flower spikes as torches to help illuminate during incantations.

4. Bullock’s Lungwort

For centuries Mullein was used by farmers for the treatment of respiratory diseases in cattle.

5. Cowboy Toilet Paper!

What’s a cowboy to do when he’s in the middle of the wilderness and nature calls?! In the absence of 3 ply toilet paper, one has to compromise! The furry soft leaves of the mullein plant was often deemed natures alternative!

Mullein has also been called..

  • Adam’s Flannel
  • Beggar’s Blanket
  • Blanket Herb
  • Blanket Leaf
  • Bouillon Blanc
  • Bouillon Jaune
  • Cierge Cotonneux
  • Cierge de Notre-Dame
  • Clot-Bur
  • Cuddy’s Lungs
  • Duffle
  • European Mullein
  • Faux Bouillon-Blanc
  • Feltwort
  • Fleur de Grand Chandelier
  • Fluffweed
  • Gidar Tamaku
  • Gordolobo
  • Hare’s Beard
  • Hedge Taper
  • Herbe de Saint-Fiacre
  • Herbe Saint Fiacre
  • Higtaper
  • Molène
  • Molène à Grandes Fleurs
  • Molène Bouillon-Blanc
  • Molène Faux-Phlomis
  • Molène Thapsus
  • Orange Mullein
  • Oreille de Loup
  • Oreille de Saint Cloud
  • Our Lady’s Flannel
  • Queue de Loup
  • Rag Paper
  • Shepherd’s Club
  • Shepherd’s Staff
  • Tabac du Diable, Torch Weed
  • Verbasci Flos
  • Wild Ice Leaf
  • Verbascum densiflorum
  • Verbascum phlomides
  • Verbascum thapsiforme
  • Verbascum thapsus
  • Woolen, Woolly Mullein

Healing Benefits of Mullein

What does Mullein heal?

The Flowers and leaves of the Mullein plant are still to this day used to heal common afflictions such as…

  • Coughs
  • Bronchitis
  • Hoarseness
  • Earaches,
  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Allergies
  • Tonsillitis
  • Sore throats

Mullein is a very good expectorant, which means, it helps to make your coughs more productive, helping the body to expel excess mucus that may be settling in the chest or in the throat

How To Make A Healing Mullein Tea

  • Place 1-2 tsp of dried Mullein leaves and flowers in a tea ball or reusable tea bag.
  • Submerge in hot water for up to 10 minutes (the longer you steep the Mullein , the stronger and more potent the tea will be)

How To Dry & Preserve Mullein

Option 1- Spread flowers and leaves on a rack or on newspaper, in a cool environment, out of direct sunlight for for 1-2 weeks

Option 2- Alternatively pop leaves and flowers in a dehydrator on the lowest heat setting for 12 hours

Store dried flowers and leaves in brown paper bags or jars, out of sunlight for several months. *Top tip Once the leaves and flowers begin to lose their colour, they’ve begun to lose their potency. Discard and replace

Haven’t grown your own Mullein Yet?

Mullein can be bought online in the form of…

Mullein is generally considered safe with few reports of side effects.

*Any specific health claim or nutritional claims or information provided on the Website are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the Website is offered or intended to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This Website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You assume full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns.

How to Grow mullein

Buy Mullein Seeds

Sow Indoors– February To April

  • If starting Mullein seeds indoors, cold stratify seeds in the fridge for 2-4 weeks prior to planting (it will help with germination)
  • Sow Seeds in Modules, trays or Pots on the surface of damp compost *press them in gently so they have good contact with the soil
  • Place on a Sunny Windowsill and Cover with a propagator lid or cling wrap until seedlings emerge
  • Pot on into idividual pots once large enough to handle
  • Plant out 50cm apart once all risk of frost has passed, be sure to harden off indoor raised plants first 

Mullein Seedling
Mullein Seedling

What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently. This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.

How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.

Sow Outdoors- May to July

  • Sow Seeds on the surface of freshly raked moist soil
  • Sow more seeds than you think you’ll need to compensate for erratic germination
  • Thin out to roughly 50cm apart

Mullein Leaves

Where to plant Mullein

Mullein likes a full sun spot in well drained soil but will tolerate partial shade

Mullein Water Requirements

Mullein require regular watering for the first few weeks while the plant gets established. But once its tap root is formed, it requires very little watering, if any.

Will Mullein Flower The First year

Mullein is a biennial Plant meaning the first year it will produce foliage and a healthy root system. The second year it blooms!

Mullein Plant before bloom
Developing a flower spike in its 2nd year

Will mullein self Seed

You can count on it! Mullein is a giant plant, which can house as many as 60,000 seeds! It will self seed and probably not where you want it too! To remedy this simply cut off the flower spike after flowering and discard.

Mullein Flowers





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